20 years of the Human Rights Act – Inclusion London’s evidence

Inclusion London recently submitted evidence to the JCHR inquiry on the Human Rights Act.

On 9 November 2018 it will be 20 years since the Human Rights Act was given Royal Assent. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has been examining whether the Human Rights Act has been effective.

Inclusion London recently submitted evidence to the JCHR inquiry. Below are our key points and recommendations:

Summary

The use of the Human Rights Act (HRA) by advocates has helped to advance the rights of Deaf and Disabled people. This together with the ability to challenge discriminatory policies and practices through our domestic courts has directly lead to an improvement in Deaf and Disabled people’s lives.

  • However, there are still gaps in awareness and understanding of the HRA amongst public sector staff, which leads to breaches of human rights, particularly regarding the use of restraint and loss of liberty.
  • The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) has severely curtailed Deaf and Disabled people’s access to justice by reducing access to legal aid.
  • There is a lack of implementation of rights under the under UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRDP) and other UN conventions.    

Recommendations

  • Article 5 of the HRA is enforced with any restriction which allows compulsory detention removed.
  •  Article 3 of the HRA is enforced with any restrictions which allow restraints to be used removed.
  • Changes are made to LASPO so legal aid is more available.
  • The UNCRPD and other UN Conventions are placed in domestic law.
  • The government takes positive action and launches a HRA awareness campaign for public sector workers and HRA training is provided to ensure that all articles of the HRA are implemented by public sector bodies.
  • An HRA awareness campaign aimed at the general public is launched by government.

Our evidence is available to download here: Inclusion-Londons-submission-JCHR-20-yrs-Human-Rights-Act-Inquiry-2018-Final.doc